Delhi HC rejects plea for suspension of sentence of Kuldeep Senger in case of custodial death of Unnao rape victim’s father, says Trial Court carried out detailed appreciation of evidence
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma [07-06-2024]




Tulip Kanth


New Delhi, June 8, 2024: While observing that the Trial Court had imposed 10-yr-sentence upon former MLA Kuldeep Singh Senger in case of custodial death of Unnao rape victim’s father after detailed appreciation of the evidence on record, the Delhi High Court has dismissed his plea seeking suspension of sentence.


The factual background of this case was such that the on 04.06.2017, the minor daughter of the victim in this case was enticed on the pretext of getting a job and was taken to the house of present applicant/appellant Kuldeep Singh Senger where the appellant had raped her. Minor rape victim's father, Surendra was brutally assaulted by the accused persons in broad daylight when the family of the victim had travelled to Unnao for a court hearing. The very next day, the police arrested Surendra on allegations of being in illegal possession of arms and he had ultimately succumbed to multiple injuries suffered by him, in police custody on 09.04.2018. The Trial of five cases arising out of aforesaid incidents, including the present case, were transferred from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi, by the Apex Court and the trial was directed to be concluded within a period of 45 days.


It was recorded in the impugned judgment that as soon as the victim in this case was seen in the village and he had some initial skirmishes with co-accused Shashi Pratap Singh, the said co-accused had called other accused persons and had informed co-accused Jaideep Singh Senger about the scuffle between him and the victim. 


This information was then conveyed to the appellant herein, who had then immediately spoken to the Superintendent of Police, Unnao. The judgment further recorded that the sequence of events thereafter clearly established that under the patronage of the appellant Kuldeep Singh Senger and his brother Jaideep Singh Senger, the other accused persons in this case had assaulted the victim with leg and fist blows and then hit him with the barrel of a rifle.


The applicant convict had approached the Delhi High Court by filing an application under Section 389(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the appellant sought suspension of sentence awarded to him during the pendency of the present appeal. The appellant had been awarded a maximum sentence of ten years.


It was the appellant's case that he has undergone an actual sentence of almost 6 years, out of a total period of 10 years awarded to him. It was further stated that all other co-accused persons who had undergone more than half of the imprisonment have already been granted the benefit of suspension of sentence.


Observing that the present case would fall under Section 389 CrPC, the Bench referred to the judgments of the Top Court in Atul Tripathi v. State of Uttar Pradesh [LQ/SC/2014/741]  and 

Omprakash Sahni v. Jai Shankar Chaudhary [LQ/SC/2023/560] wherein it is observed that while considering the release of a convict sentenced to imprisonment for life or for ten years or more, the court shall judiciously consider all the relevant factors whether specified in the objections or not, like gravity of offence, nature of the crime, age, criminal antecedents of the convict, impact on public confidence in court, etc. before passing an order for release.


The Bench noticed that the Trial Court had held in its impugned judgment that records of the case indicated that the appellant Kuldeep Singh Sengar had a strong motive, stemming from his frustration over pamphlets and WhatsApp messages circulated against him. It was revealed by a recorded conversation that he was dissatisfied with the situation’s negative impact on his personal and political life, as well as on his family, including co-accused Jaideep Singh Sengar. 


The Trial Court had also observed that the appellant Kuldeep Singh Senger had provided substantial encouragement and support to the other co-accused persons, and it was clear that without such patronage or protective cover, other co-accused would not have been able to assault, drag, and humiliate the victim and their family members in the manner they did. The impugned judgment had also categorically held that the call records between the appellant Kuldeep Singh Senger, and co-accused Ashok Singh Bhadauria and K.P. Singh clearly indicated that despite being away from village Makhi, the appellant was orchestrating the entire incident and in conspiracy with the aforementioned policemen, he had managed to falsely implicate the victim, Surender Singh, in a case of possession of illegal firearms.


Reliance was placed upon Top Court's ruling that the once the accused has been held guilty, the presumption of innocence gets erased and the Courts will have to consider the application for suspension of sentence by taking only a prima facie view of the role of the accused, gravity of offence, etc. as recorded in the judgment of conviction.


“As regards the antecedents of the appellant, he has already been convicted under Section 5 and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 read with Section 376 of IPC vide judgment dated 16.12.2019 and vide order dated 20.12.2019 for the offence of rape of minor girl, and has been sentenced to undergo imprisonment for remainder of his life”, the Bench noticed.


Clarifying that the appeals are now listed on 07.08.2024, the Bench dismissed the present application.

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